Margaret Bannerman is praying the cards fall her way when the all-important box draw for the Cowra Motors Greyhound Racing NSW Country Challenge (524m) is conducted later this week.
Her Cowra track specialist Brencole Bale was a gutsy winner in the first of the heats on Friday night despite being posted wide early.
But that doesn’t seem to bother the Reefton trainer who will gladly don pink again for the big occasion.
“Eight would be nice again,” Bannerman said when quizzed on her preference for the final.
Feature race specialist and 2008 Cowra Cup runner-up Iigloo Osti (box two) was the major casualty of the race.
The 67-race veteran never recovered from an early scrimmage at the first bend before tailing away to finish last.
He had every opportunity to begin well with box one hopeful Mimy’s Mystery a scratching.
Instead it was the likes of Brencole Bale and Oodnadatta who took the plaudits after a frenetic race.
Kevin Mahoney’s Rockarena and Pauline Moran’s accomplished Diamond Frenzy looked the most likely approaching the first bend after swift getaways.
But a form of mild chaos ensued where there was no clear leader.
Galvez and Iigloo Osti seemed to be the most hindered from the interference as Brencole Bale worked into position.
Around the back he slipped around the pack to eventually clear away for a 1½-length victory from Oodnadatta in 30.87s.
Diamond Frenzy did enough to qualify in third.
“It was very impressive his run,” Bannerman said of Brencole Bale’s third win in as many attempts at Cowra.
“He did it very hard, he went right around the outside of the field. He’s just one very good chaser, he just never gives it up.”
Meanwhile, Tara Lane justified the confidence of punters in the betting ring with an inspired win for Bannerman in the Mad Maiden final (453m).
For the second time in as many weeks Tara Lane railed underneath the leader, this time Rebecca Wren the unfortunate victim.
Not the best to begin, Tara Lane eventually clicked into gear after a stifled beginning to have 1¼ lengths to spare from Rebecca Wren, landing connections the $1,000 prize for first place. Smakers was third.
Meanwhile in the other herats of the Cwora leg of the Country Challenge, Wagga trainer David Cox wanted the cake – and he ate it too; upsetting reigning Golden Easter Egg champ Dana Beatrice in the process.
Patty Cake gatecrashed the Golden Easter Egg winner’s homecoming with a shock all-the-way win in the third heat of the Cowra Motors Greyhound Racing NSW Country Challenge (524m) at Cowra on Friday night.
Dana Beatrice’s loyal legion of followers needn’t be too downcast, she still qualified for the $5,000-to-the-winner final this Friday night though a well-beaten second.
But the mere formality that she would win her heat is now a distant afterthought as half-sister Patty Cake cruised to a 2½-length success.
Cox was happy with his star bitch’s fourth win on the trot, but deflected praise in comparing the challenge both his Patty Cake and Rod McDonald’s Dana Beatrice faced in the qualifier.
“We had the box to suit us today and Dana had to get across (from seven) but Dana is a beauty,” he said.
Both decorated pups are out of super sire Collision.
But it was the lightweight Patty Cake, a multiple Wentworth Park winner, who best used her alley blasting on the bunny when the lids lifted. Dana Beatrice tried valiantly to cross the field with resistance from Ronald Steel’s Running Cargo in box eight.
Patty Cake bolted clear from the field leaving the aforementioned scrambling for a run at the first bend.
The lead stretched up to five lengths past the catching pen, before Dana Beatrice slowly reeled in what appeared to be an insurmountable margin.
In the end it proved to be the case, with Patty Cake cruising past the post with Dana Beatrice just a half-head to the good of Running Cargo, who also qualified for the final, in third.
Nevertheless, despite a clear run, Patty Cake still registered the slowest of the heat wins in a pedestrian 30.91.
“The one box was very important,” Cox admitted. “She’s only a little dog and it was very important.
“Hopefully next week I can get one, seven or eight.
“I’d like to think she would improve a little bit. But like I said she does her best and that is about all you can ask for.”
Cox said he was pleasantly surprised with Patty Cake’s maiden appearance on the Cowra loam.
“She hasn’t been here before,” he said.
“She’s won a couple at Wentworth Park and four in a row. She seems to be going alright at the moment.”
o Meanwhile, the Kurrajong-based Norm Becroft-trained Mighty Albert ensured the script wasn’t completely thrown out the window with a slashing victory in the second heat. Boasting a strike rate in excess of 50 per cent, Mighty Albert made it 20 wins from 37 career starts when leading from start to finish in a slick best-of-the-night 30.55s.
The son of Lindale Blue won the jump from box two beating out Smashing Osti (box one) and Kite Street (box seven).
He was never headed from then on bolting to a 3½-length win.
The Glen Enfield-trained Kite Street ensured there would be more than one local representation in the final with an eye-catching second.
Kevin Mahoney’s Cracker Can filled the minor placings, but missed the final in light of a slower finishing time than the other two third placegetters.
The eight qualifiers and their times for the Cowra Cup final:
- Mighty Albert 30.55
- Kite Street 30.80
- Brencole Bale 30.87
- Patty Cake 30.91
- Oodnadatta 30.98
- Dana Beatrice 31.09
- Running Cargo 31.10
- Diamond Frenzy 31.26
Courtesy : Cowra Guardian